NBA Finals Stats Potpourri

The 2016-17 NBA season ended Monday night with the Golden State Warriors winning their second title in three years. Let’s close the book on this season with a few stats from the finals.

  • The Warriors became the 14th team in league history to lose an NBA Finals one season and then win the title the following year, the fifth time it has happened in the last nine years. Here’s a look at the 14 teams:

Team   (Year lost title/Year won title)
Syracuse                  1954/1955
St. Louis Hawks     1957/1958
Boston                      1958/1959
New York Knicks   1972/1973
Seattle                       1978/1979
Philadelphia            1982/1983
L.A. Lakers               1984/1985
Boston                       1985/1986
Detroit                       1988/1989
L.A. Lakers               2008/2009
Miami                        2011/2012
San Antonio              2013/2014
Cleveland                  2015/2016
Golden State             2016/2017

Of the 13 teams that did this prior to Golden State this year, six made it back to the NBA Finals the next year with four winning the title again and two losing in the finals. Seven of the 13 did not make the NBA Finals the following season.

  • LeBron James had 44 points in the Game Five loss on June 12. It was the third time James scored 40 or more points in an NBA Finals where his team lost. Jerry West holds the record with four games of 40+ points in the NBA Finals in a defeat. Here are the 11 players who have scored 40 or more points in an NBA Finals in a loss:

4: Jerry West
3: LeBron James
2: Rick Barry, Michael Jordan
1: Charles Barkley, Julius Erving, John Havlicek, Shaquille O’Neal, Isiah Thomas, Russell Westbrook, James Worthy

If we drop the points down to 30 in an NBA Finals game, West still leads this category with 12 games. James is now in sole possession of second place on this list with seven games in the NBA Finals where he scored 30 or more points in a loss. Jordan and O’Neal follow with six games each.

Six players have scored 30 or more points in an NBA Finals game (win or loss), led by West with 24. He is followed by Jordan with 23, LeBron with 18, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaq with 16, and Kobe Bryant with 13. Of these six players, James has the worst record in games where he scored 30 or more points in an NBA Finals… his teams are 11-7 (.611 winning percentage) when he scores 30 or more in a finals contest.

  • Golden State rookie Patrick MaCaw did not see a lot of playing time in the NBA Finals this year, but he did score six points in Game Five. By doing so, he became the 13th player under the age of 22 to score six or more points in an NBA Finals game in NBA history. The last player under the age of 22 to score six or more points in an NBA Finals game was San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard in 2013. He had five such games in the 2013 NBA Finals. Here’s the 13 players under the age of 22 who have scored six or more points in an NBA Finals game:

Alvan Adams, Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Darryl Dawkins, Johnny Davis, Jordan Farmar, Daniel Gibson, Richard Jefferson, Magic Johnson, Cory Joseph, Kawhi Leonard, Patrcik MaCaw and Tony Parker

The 600-HR Club welcomes Albert Pujols

On Saturday night, June 3, Angels’ first baseman Albert Pujols became the ninth member of the exclusive 600-HR Club. Pujols hit a grand slam that night, becoming the first member of the 600-HR Club to join the club with a grand slam.

For the record, here are the nine members of the club: Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Alex Rodriguez (696), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey, Jr. (630), Jim Thome (612), Sammy Sosa (609) and Pujols (600).

Here are a handful of stats about the 600-HR Club and Albert Pujols’ 600 homers.

  • None of the nine members played for just one team. Pujols becomes the fourth member of the group who has played for just two teams in his career (he has played for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Angels). The others: Bonds (Pittsburgh and San Francisco), Aaron (Braves and Brewers) and Mays (Giants and Mets). Thome played with the most teams, six (Cleveland, Philadelphia, the White Sox, Dodgers, Minnesota and Baltimore).
  • Three of the nine members also have 3,000 hits: Aaron (3,771), Mays (3,283) and Rodriguez (3,115). Pujols has 2,876 (as of June 3).
  • Pujols, as of June 3, had 608 career doubles. That ranks second among the nine 600-HR Club members. Aaron has the most two-baggers with 624. Pujols does, however, have the fewest triples of the nine members with 16.
  • Three members also have 2,000 or more RBIs: Aaron, Ruth and Rodriguez. Pujols had 1,859 as of June 3.
  • Of the nine members of the club, Pujols has the fewest strikeouts with 1,091.
  • Of the nine members of the club, Pujols and Thome have the fewest sacrifice bunts with one each.
  • Babe Ruth has the highest batting average of the club members at .342. Pujols is second at .308. Two other members hit .300: Aaron (.305) and Mays (.302). The lowest average of the nine? Sosa at .273.
  • Although he has 600 career HRs, Pujols has never hit 50 or more in a single season.
  • Pujols has homered against all 30 MLB teams. The fewest HRs against any one team is one versus his old team, the Cardinals.
  • Pujols has 56 HRs versus the Cubs and 55 versus the Astros, most against any team.
  • Pujols has hit 137 of his home runs in the first inning, most of any inning.
  • He has hit 487 of his 600 home runs from the three spot in the batting order.
  • The month with the most HRs for Pujols is August with 112.
  • Pujols has hit 318 homers at home and 282 on the road.

Stats Potpourri: A look back at Game One of the NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors took Game One of the 2017 NBA Finals, a 113-91 win over Cleveland. There were several storylines that punctuated this victory, but here’s a few stats you might find interesting.

  • Golden State’s 22-point win in Game One was the eighth time in NBA Finals history that a team won the first game of the finals by a margin of 20 points or more. In the previous seven times, the team that won Game One by 20 points or more won the series five times. The two series losses: The Knicks defeated the Lakers 114-92 in Game One of the 1972 NBA Finals, but the Lakers won the series, four games to one; in 1985, the Celtics defeated the Lakers 148-114 (the largest margin of victory in a NBA Finals Game One, 34 points), but the Lakers won the series, four games to two.
  • The Warriors had 31 assists and only four turnovers in Game One. Since 1984, it was the first time in an NBA Finals that a team had more than 30 assists and less than five turnovers in the same contest. It was only the fourth playoff game since 1984 that a team had 30 or more assists and less than five turnovers in the same game.
  • It was the 17th time since 1984 that a team had four or fewer turnovers in an NBA playoff game. Teams are 11-6 in those games.
  • Golden State is now 28-3 in playoff games since 2013 when they score 110 or more points in a post-season game. They are also now 8-1 in the NBA Finals since 2013 when they score 100 or more points and 7-3 in the NBA Finals since 2013 when they hold their opponents (the Cavs) under 100 points.
  • LeBron James had eight turnovers in the game. It was the fourth time since 1984 that a player had eight or more turnovers in an NBA Finals game. The last player to accomplish this feat was Manu Ginobli in 2013 when he had eight turnovers in a finals game versus the Miami Heat.
  • Kevin Durant had 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the game. The last player to have 30 or more points and eight or more rebounds and assists in an NBA Finals game was last year when Draymon Green has 32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in a finals series game.
  • Durant had zero turnovers to go with his 38 points. It was the 13th time since 1984 that a player had 30 or more points in an NBA Finals game with no turnovers. The last player to do this was Klay Thompson on June 7, 2015 when he had 34 points and no turnovers in the finals series versus the Cavs.

MLB Analytics: In first place on June 1

The calendar has turned to June and Major League Baseball has completed the first two months of the 2017 season. The big question is… will the Houston Astros make their first World Series appearance since 2005 and are they primed to win their first World Series title in franchise history?

The Astros have baseball’s best record at 38-16, a .704 winning percentage. But here’s a quick stat that may give Astros’ fans even more reason to think this is their year: In three of the last four seasons, the team with the best record in baseball as of June 1 has made it to the World Series that year, and two of the last three World Series champions (the Cubs last year and the Giants in 2014) had the MLB’s best record on June 1. All good news for the fans in Houston.

Of course two months does not a season make. But let’s take a look at the last five seasons and see how the teams that led their division on the morning of June 1 did that season.

First, a quick look at this year’s standings. The teams leading their division on June 1 in 2017 are the New York Yankees, Houston and a tie between the Indians and Twins in the American League, and Washington, Milwaukee (yes, the Brewers) and the Dodgers in the National League.

Here’s a few stats concerning teams in first place in their division as of June 1:

  • There were 32 teams that led or were tied for the division lead from 2012-2016. Of those 32 teams, 13 went on to win the division that season. Of those 32 teams, 20 made the playoffs that year.
  • Of those 13 teams that led their division on June 1 and then won the division that year, four of those teams came from the N.L. Central (good news for the Brewers), most of any of the six divisions.
  • Of the last 10 World Series teams, four led their division on June 1 that year, six did not.
  • Of the last five World Series champs, three led their division on June 1 that year, two did not (Kansas City in 2015 and the Giants in 2012).
  • The last season where two teams that led their division on June 1 met in the World Series was in 2013 (Boston versus St. Louis).

Here’s one final stat: As mentioned above, the Astros have a .704 winning percentage here on the morning of June 1. Since 2000, the Astros are only the fourth team to have a winning percentage of .700 or better on June 1. The Cubs last year were at .700 on June 1, while the 2002 Red Sox (.706) and the 2001 Seattle Mariners (.769) are the other teams on the list.

Four stats you may not know about the NBA Finals

This year’s NBA Finals begins on Thursday, June 1. Here are four stats you may not know about the NBA Finals.

  • Cleveland and Golden State will meet for the third consecutive year in the finals, the first time that has happened in NBA history. There has now been 13 times when the same two teams faced off in the NBA Finals in consecutive years. They are:

1952, 53: Minneapolis Lakers vs. New York Knicks
1957, 58: Boston Celtics vs. St. Louis Hawks
1960, 61: Boston Celtics vs. St. Louis Hawks
1962, 63: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
1965, 66: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
1968, 69: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
1972, 73: Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks
1978, 79: Seattle Supersonics vs. Washington Bullets
1982, 83: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers
1984, 85: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
1988, 89: Detroit Pistons vs. Los Angeles Lakers
1997, 98: Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz
2013, 14: Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs
2015, 16, 17: Cleveland Cavs vs. Golden State Warriors

  • The Cavs and Warriors this year become the 14th and 15th teams to reach the NBA Finals in three consecutive seasons. The Boston Celtics of 1957-66 hold the NBA record by reaching the finals in 10 consecutive years. Following are the teams that have reached the NBA Finals in three consecutive years (or more):

New York Knicks, 1951-53
Minneapolis Lakers, 1952-54
Boston Celtics, 1957-66 (10 years)
Los Angeles Lakers, 1968-70
Los Angeles Lakers, 1982-85 (4 years)
Boston Celtics, 1984-87 (4 years)
Los Angeles Lakers, 1987-89
Detroit Pistons, 1988-90
Chicago Bulls, 1991-93
Chicago Bulls, 1996-98
Los Angeles Lakers, 2000-02
Los Angeles Lakers, 2008-10
Miami Heat, 2011-14 (4 years)
Golden State Warriors, 2015-17
Cleveland Cavs, 2015-17

  • The Golden State Warriors this year will try to avoid becoming the tenth team in NBA history to lose in the NBA Finals in two consecutive years. The last team to lose consecutive NBA Finals was the New Jersey Nets in 2002 and 2003.

Here are the nine teams which have lost the NBA Finals in consecutive seasons.

New York Knicks, 1951-53
Ft. Wayne Pistons, 1955-56
St. Louis Hawks, 1960-61
Los Angeles Lakers, 1962-63
Los Angeles Lakers, 1965-66
Los Angeles Lakers, 1968-70
Los Angeles Lakers, 1983-84
Utah Jazz, 1997-98
New Jersey Nets, 2002-03

  • The Cleveland Cavs, with a finals’ series win over the Warriors this year, would become the 13th team to win back-to-back NBA titles. The last team to win back-to-back titles was the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.

Below are the 12 teams to win back-to-back NBA titles in league’s history.

1949-50: Minneapolis Lakers
1952-54: Minneapolis Lakers
1959-66: Boston Celtics
1968-69: Boston Celtics
1987-88: Los Angeles Lakers
1989-90: Detroit Pistons
1991-93: Chicago Bulls
1994-95: Houston Rockets
1996-98: Chicago Bulls
2000-02: Los Angeles Lakers
2009-10: Los Angeles Lakers
2012-13: Miami Heat